Sadiq Khan has been criticised after attempting to take credit for the introduction of mandatory acceptance of debit and credit card by London’s black cab trade, a change of policy which was announced seven months before he took office.
From Monday, October 31st, all London Taxis will be required to accept payment by debit and credit card, as well as contactless payment methods.
Transport for London, which says the move will “make life easier for passengers”, first considered mandating card payments in July 2014 and in June 2015 announced a public consultation on the proposal.
In November last year TfL announced that, subject to approval from its supervisory board, the change would come into effect from October 2016. Approval was subsequently given at the board’s February 2016 meeting.
Despite the change of rules being announced and confirmed months before he took office in May, Mr Khan today put his name to a press release hailing card payments as a “key part” of the Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan he published last month.
In the statement he says: “I’m delighted to announce that from next Monday, everyone using our iconic black cabs will be able to pay by card, making their journeys quicker and more convenient.
“Since becoming Mayor, I’ve been determined to ensure we have a vibrant taxi and private hire market that provides a truly world-class service for Londoners.”
Conservatives on the London Assembly have accused Mr Khan of “attempting to steal the limelight for himself” and of being more interested in winning publicity for himself than in helping the taxi trade which is under increasingly levels of pressure from services such as Uber.
Keith Prince AM said: “Compulsory card machines were announced by TfL seven months before he was even elected – he just happens to be in office now the deadline has been reached.
“I hope Sadiq Khan is actually focused on improving things for our cabbies rather than simply creating yet more photo opportunities for himself.
“The survival of our black cabs does not rely on his picture being in the papers but rather on innovative ways of levelling the playing field with popular apps such as Uber.”